Making an early Black Friday illegal
Gearing up for one of the busiest shopping days of the year, big box brands are bleeding Black Friday into the night and even day before, edging in on what is traditionally a day American families gather, with little to no businesses in operation on that day.
Regardless of how anyone feels about the tradition or about shopping, the crossover is slowly creeping in more and more every year.
But according to the Associated Press, “blue laws” in Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island make Black Thursday illegal, with big brands (retailers and supermarkets alike) barred from opening their doors on Thanksgiving day.
Big brands are unhappy
Obviously, large brands aren’t happy that their Black Friday creep is illegal, especially when their sister locations in other states are starting early, putting these three states at a disadvantage and allowing shoppers who expect to be served to cross state lines, bleeding money into other states.
According to Bill Rennie, vice president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, shoppers are border-jumping to Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont, as are their wallets. “Why not give stores in Massachusetts the option?” the Association VP asked
On the flip side
Alternatively, smaller local businesses that don’t have the extra staff or seasonal team members to open during Thanksgiving are breathing a sigh of relief.
“I shop all year. People need to be with their families on Thanksgiving,” one Rhode Island resident opined to the AP.
Blue Laws still allow convenience stores, movie theaters, pharmacies, restaurants, and a handful of other businesses to open their doors on Thanksgiving.
Blue Laws are not new, they actually date back to the 1800s, but they remain in these three states, and while they differ from state to state, they originally sought to observe the morality of the times. Will these laws change over time? They have in all other states, so we’ll see, but for now, they’re in full force.